Week 25: Community and Confrontation

Readings for the week: Psalm 73, 2 Kings 1-9, 1 Corinthians 10-16Psalm 74, Listen to these passages

Opening Prayer:

 Dear Lord, thank you for the hope we have in you. Thank you for the peace you bring.  When I spend my time looking away from you, I look for other things to put my hope in and I lose peace. I get caught up in the chaos of other people.  Forgive me for when I’ve wandered away from your path.  Fill me anew with your Spirit, calming my heart and helping me to see this world with your perspective. Renew my heart with joy that I might spread joy to those I meet.  Guide me in all my steps this week that I hear your guidance and stay true to the calling you have given me. Be with all those in my community, bringing healing and awakening possibilities for us all! Amen.

1. Psalm 73

2. Reading through 2 Kings 1-9

God wins.  Start with that idea and hold onto it.  It’s worth remembering because far too many people forget it.

In these chapters we get some of the clearest declarations of God’s victory against worldly powers and corruptions.  This is Marvel movie quality stuff here, prophets with the power of God on their side and kings who think that because they have a title they’re in charge.

Of course, the reality is that these are not the way that God always works. He can get very visibly involved at times, raising up those who make dramatic stands, who lead in truth and assert the fullness of God’s presence. Then it seems God is distant.

The challenge for us is to know these stories in these chapters so that we have confidence in God who does work, can work, will work.  If we forget these stories then we can become overwhelmed by the ways injustice or frustrations abound.  We get lulled and pulled away. We get caught in the narratives of the world–and not just the secular ones, the religious ones too, that try to box God in.

God works in a way that invites and also challenges.  He doesn’t commit himself to someone simply because they have a title or are in a category.

In these chapters we see the work of Elijah come to a dramatic end, and the work of Elisha extending the reach of God beyond what the people of the time expected.

It’s a great victory, but it’s not the final event. God is, it seems, showing his power so that generations that came after will hear, remember, and maybe, just maybe, listen to the call of God to live in righteousness rather than chaos.  These stories aren’t for our entertainment, though they’re among the more entertaining in Scripture.  These are a challenge for us, calling us out in our time and place, urging us to be faithful and choose to put our hope in God, even and especially when others are falling away.

Do you believe? What is God calling you to do to?

3. Reading Through 1 Corinthians 10-16

So you want to be a Christian? You want to live out the calling of Christ in your life and in your community? You want to know what it means to be a church? What is essential to the Christian life and belief.

Read these chapters.

Take them to heart. Here it is.  What matters in practice and belief. What we can hold loosely and what is an absolute.

What do you think matters in these? How would you describe Christianity if you just had these chapters? What would church look like if we all took these chapters seriously.

Paul wrote these words about 1900 years ago. They are still very radical, and a lot of people have spent a lot of time trying to get around what Paul says.

Let us live in love, live in resurrection faith, really value each other and all that we each contribute.  Let’s see if Paul was right.

4. Psalm 74

5. Respond

If you’ve fallen behind in the readings or having started year, don’t worry.  Reading the Bible isn’t a limited time offer. Jump in this week, and catch up with what you’ve missed in future years.

Also, I highly encourage you to share your thoughts with others in your family, or immediate community. Talk about this stuff! 

And, since I sometimes feel lonely, share your thoughts in the comment section.

Talking about your thoughts and questions is a very important part of the reading goal. Writing out our thoughts can help us remember what we read and keep our minds on the passage. It also is very helpful to share as we learn from each other. Even our questions or confusion can bring us together, as we highlight what others may have missed or address what a lot of us are also wondering.   Don’t feel like you have to say or write a lot, or feel pressure to be profound. Respond with honesty and openness.

Just jump right in where you’re at, knowing that Christ invites you to respond without pressure or anxiety. It’s a journey not a performance.